Hebrew 8:13 vs Matthew 5:17?


Please please please help me with this answer. Going to have discussion with nondenominational friend soon but would like your response.

So Heb 8:13 talks about the first covenant is obsolete and now we are under the new covenant. But my friend states that the things that Catholics do and most protestants … like tithing (especially tithing), or incense, or the priesthood, etc, that is prescribed in the old law… if a church does any of that , then they are practicing old covenant/old law which goes against Hebrews and is practicing two covenants. Of course, I know we don’t sacrifice animals etc like they did in the old law, its now the one, true sacrifice of Christ, but he states that if you practice anything (ie. tithing), then you should practice all laws. … which of course, is not biblical. Thus, Catholics practice two covenants.
I asked him what about Matthew 5:17, but he said Christ was just instructing the Jews, which do practice old law.
which brings up another good Q: does Matthew 5:17 contradict Hebrews 8?
I look forward to your response, thanks in advance


i don’t know about other churches but the cahotlic church doesn’t tithe

hebrews talks about the church having priests so i don’t see wha the problem is?

revelation talks about elders in heaven offering incense as prayers for the christians on earth. also the prophet of malachi says the gentiles will offer incense to God. i think certain things were not exclusive to the old covenant

sorry i’m not more knowledgable. hopefully someone can help more


In the book of Leviticus it says, ‘The new coming on, you shall cast away the old’ (Lev. 26:10). This denotes that the old law ceased from our time. The understanding of the eternal law is known for what it is called eternal through the persistent preaching of the Catholic message. It’s truth is seen, by that it is persistent and has not been casted away by the working of the Lord.

It says, “The prosperity of fools shall destroy them” (Prov 1:32) This denotes the linear cause of evil, if it be evil, it will cease given a goodly length of time.

“Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” (Mt 5:17) God placed the causes of the old law on himself, and through baptism we enter into a covenant of the heart (cf. Jer 31:31), wherewith we repent through the sacraments by faith and become instructed (cf. Ps 32, Lk 1:77) subjectively in his grace onto objective dogma concerning the resources of divine public revelation. By the Law we are instructed, by grace we are assisted onto the sweetness of the observance of the Law.


Thank you so much for the replies!

But let me quote one of my friends’ books (yes, he’s self published a few books) to maybe clear up what I mean:

“Ten commandments, the laws about social justice, the law about the Sabbath, the Ark of the covenants, the table for the bread, the golden lamp stand, the Tabernacle, the bronze Alter, the priests garment, the alter incense, the census tax, the bronze basin, the anointing oil, the Sabbath AND the TITHES were ONLY for Israelites, NOT for Gentiles. …Tithe is the OLD covenant which was given ONLY to Levi. If you want to keep tithing, you have to keep the whole 613 laws since you are in the OLD covenant righteous way.” This last part is about tithing, which Catholics don’t do, but he would say the same for the other things like incense, etc.
Thus, since most of us have not of the line of the Israelites… we’re Gentiles, then all that stuff does not apply. Which the Catholic church does not practice that stuff… BUT … we still use anointing oils and incense, etc… so its hard to explain that we don’t practice old law, but then we do have some of those things.

Maybe the answer is that its a dumb question and my friend is trying to make something be there that isn’t?

Again, thanks for the responses and if anyone can add to this, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, and God Bless.


bbsct said, “Thus, since most of us have not of the line of the Israelites… we’re Gentiles, then all that stuff does not apply. Which the Catholic church does not practice that stuff… BUT … we still use anointing oils and incense, etc… so its hard to explain that we don’t practice old law, but then we do have some of those things.”

The disconnect of the old testament content with the new - would not be a proper understanding of way God continues to reveal himself in worship.

It says in the Catechism, “The Old Testament is an indispensable part of Sacred Scripture. Its books are divinely inspired and retain a permanent value, for the Old Covenant has never been revoked.” (CCC 121)


You present this issue as that which pertains to the disciplines of the Church and with that how their be an indication toward the Law of the Gospel. Consider what Pope John Paul II wrote for an event in 1983,

“Christ the Lord, indeed, did not in the least wish to destroy the very rich heritage of the Law and of the Prophets which was gradually formed from the history and experience of the People of God in the Old Testament, but He brought it to completion (cf. Mt. 5:17), in such wise that in a new and higher way it became part of the heritage of the New Testament. Therefore, although St. Paul, in expounding the Paschal Mystery, teaches that justification is not obtained by the works of the Law, but by means of faith (cf. Rom. 3:28; Gal. 2:16), he does not thereby exclude the binding force of the Decalogue (cf. Rom. 13:28; Gal. 5:13-25; 6:2), nor does he deny the importance of discipline in the Church of God (cf. 1 Cor. chapters 5, 6). Thus the writings of the New Testament enable us to understand still more the importance itself of discipline and make us see better how it is more closely connected with the saving character of the evangelical message itself.” (Apostolic Constitution, Sacrae disciplinae leges)

The Pontiff reveals the importance of discipline, the binding of the identity of worship of those things that are familiar to it - the familiarity of Jewish roots in regard to liturgy. These roots, he says, are “the very rich heritage”. How does the letter to the Hebrews affirm this identity? I would say by including this heritage, not under the order of Aaron but the order of Melchisedech. However, that question many have a number of opinions as answers, so in accordance to canon 227 I cannot affirm that in any way is the doctrine of the Church.


Thank you for your replies!!!

I greatly appreciate it!

To be completely honest, its still somewhat “muddy” to me, but your posts helped tremendously. Especially the reference to CCC 121. Which led me to CCC 123: “…the Church has always vigorously opposed the idea of rejecting the Old Testament under the pretext that the New rendered it void (Marcionism).”

Thx again for your replies!



I don’t follow your friend’s logic. There are indeed two different Covenants, the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, but that doesn’t necessarily imply that the two Covenants cannot share any elements in common. All that is necessary for two Covenants to be different is for them to differ in at least one element, right?

Many aspects of the Old Covenant were indeed rendered obsolete by the New Covenant but not all. The Old Covenant had commandments against murder and adultery. Does your friend think these commandments were made obsolete by the New Covenant so that Christians are now free to murder and commit adultery?


The idea that Jesus was speaking to Jews only in Matt 5 is pure contrived nonsense for the purpose of supporting a false gospel. The difference between the Old Covenant and the New is that, in the Old, we’re to obey God’s Law in order to prove our righteousness, as if we possessed or could attain that righteousness on our own, by our own efforts. The real purpose in this, from God’s perspective, was to demonstrate just how impossible that is for man, because man’s not capable of righteousness without grace, without God, IOW, apart from Whom he can do nothing, but with Whom all things are possible.

The New Covenant brings about authentic righteousness as it brings about reconciliation with and therefore communion with God, because from that vantage point He may do His work In us. Read the New Covenant prophecies in Jer 31:33-34, which are also quoted in Hebrews 8 & 10. This shows God’s purpose: we’re still to obey, but He’s to be our righteousness, the cause of our obedience, as was always meant to be. This was the relationship which Adam shattered in Eden.

What Jesus accomplished was reestablishment of communion with God first of all: we don’t approach God by first becoming righteous, rather we become righteous by first approaching God. We don’t obey the Law in order to unite with God, rather we must first unite with God in order to obey the Law. "For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous." Rom 2:13

From the Catechism:

**1965 The New Law or the Law of the Gospel is the perfection here on earth of the divine law, natural and revealed. It is the work of Christ and is expressed particularly in the Sermon on the Mount. It is also the work of the Holy Spirit and through him it becomes the interior law of charity: "I will establish a New Covenant with the house of Israel. . . . I will put my laws into their hands, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."19

1966 The New Law is the grace of the Holy Spirit given to the faithful through faith in Christ. It works through charity; it uses the Sermon on the Mount to teach us what must be done and makes use of the sacraments to give us the grace to do it:

If anyone should meditate with devotion and perspicacity on the sermon our Lord gave on the mount, as we read in the Gospel of Saint Matthew, he will doubtless find there . . . the perfect way of the Christian life. . . . This sermon contains . . . all the precepts needed to shape one’s life.20

1967 The Law of the Gospel “fulfills,” refines, surpasses, and leads the Old Law to its perfection.21 In the Beatitudes, the New Law fulfills the divine promises by elevating and orienting them toward the “kingdom of heaven.” It is addressed to those open to accepting this new hope with faith - the poor, the humble, the afflicted, the pure of heart, those persecuted on account of Christ and so marks out the surprising ways of the Kingdom.

1968 The Law of the Gospel fulfills the commandments of the Law. The Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, far from abolishing or devaluing the moral prescriptions of the Old Law, releases their hidden potential and has new demands arise from them: it reveals their entire divine and human truth. It does not add new external precepts, but proceeds to reform the heart, the root of human acts, where man chooses between the pure and the impure,22 where faith, hope, and charity are formed and with them the other virtues. The Gospel thus brings the Law to its fullness through imitation of the perfection of the heavenly Father, through forgiveness of enemies and prayer for persecutors, in emulation of the divine generosity.23**


I can’t thank all of you enough for your replies!! Its gonna take me time to digest all of this, but I will.

Sometimes I think people only think the New testament is just St. Paul’s writings, which are amazing in themselves, but my friend for instance would say anointing oil is OT (prescribed in Mosaic Law). However, in James 5, he talks about anointing the sick with oil.

Wow! Thank you again for the responses everyone!


Just a few things off the top of my head:

  1. In Matthew 5, Jesus gives instruction about how we are to present our offering on THE ALTAR. Ask him what an altar is for, and what is its purpose.

  2. Jesus gives instructions on WHEN we fast, not IF. Ask him if he fasts.

  3. Ask him why it is called the New COVENANT. What does this word mean?

  4. Ask him to explain why Jesus is called the Pascal Lamb (i.e. the lamb slaughtered and EATEN as Passover).

  5. Ask him to explain what Jesus is instructing us to do at the Last Supper. Is this a ritual?


I’m rather stunned that your friend doesn’t think the Ten Commandments need to be obeyed anymore. Does this mean he has no concept of sin? Of course, if there is no sin, then it really doesn’t matter if we obey Old Testament law, right?


Wow… thanks again!

I will digest all of those questions/responses.

As for Ten Commandments… my friend once told me, no, he is NOT under the ten commandments. Just under… when St. Paul says that the greatest commandment is to love your neighbor…
It’s a weird concept… he says he follows/worships Christ, but its like everything Christ says in the gospel about fasting, or the alter, he said its Christ telling the Jews what they should do to be better Jews b/c Jews are under the Old Law (but not my friend). Therefore, what Christ is saying to the Jews in the Gospel does not apply to Gentiles. and he told me once all sin is equally bad to God, ie Murder is just as bad as stealing. but that’s another doctrinal issue i guess.

To sum up my friends view: God had a chosen people: Israelites. So there was two kinds of people, Israelites and Gentiles. Isrealites know God through the Law and are under the Law. Gentiles (most of us and my friend) know God through Jesus. therefore, all we need to do is follow Christ, that’s it. No priests necessary, no Catholic church necessary, etc. and most churches practice two covenants according to him.

Part of this is typical protestant rebellion against an authoritative body over scripture, but my friend just put this “weird” spin on it that I’m having trouble getting over… until now!!!

Thanks a million everybody!


Maybe at some point he can understand how inconsistent he is being.

The 10 Commandments don’t count. But murder is just as bad as stealing. Hmm. Last I knew, those were in the 10 Commandments.

And your friend certainly cherry-picks verses if he believes that we only need to love, as others have pointed out. Scripture doesn’t agree with him.

Thanks for an interesting discussion.

The doctrinal point about all sins being equal…that’s not an unusual Protestant belief.


I heard that the Love thy neighbour commandment has turned into a free pass for same sex acts and fornication . OT specifically prohibits same sex acts. So the new covenant becomes a convenient vehicle to do those things that the OT prohibited. How convenient to choose the right verse to justify whatever one wants to do.

Honestly, whatever acrobatics one tries to do, it will still fail one of the 2 commandments that Jesus gave 1. Love God 2. Love neighbour.

The Love God commandment includes NOT doing all the stuff that God hated in the OT. God is unchangeable. He did not give anyone the green light to kill, commit idolatry, lie, commit adultery etc in the New Covenant. Yes, the New covenant replaces the Old. But replaced with what? It is indeed foolish to ASSUME OT principles are now null and void when only some ceremonial/dietary/circumcision stuff were discarded. None of the writers of NT wrote that the 10 commandments is no longer applicable. The usual sins such as killing, adultery, stealing etc to be avoided are still being cautioned against. In Mat 19:17-19, Jesus repeated the 10 commandments to be followed.

If anyone thinks he can play word games with God, he is very very mistaken. You can fool your neighbour (i.e. us) , with what you thought clever cherry picking, but I don’t think you can wing it with God. Just ask yourself a simple question, how are you going to answer God when he ask “why do you ignore all my OTHER verses? Did I say do this verse to the exclusion of all others? Show it to me in your Bible.” The last one applies to Protestants only.


I like the way you word this.


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